dinosaur eggs.

today Lincoln asked me 47 times if we have a ‘chim-dee’ (chimney).  he then asked 57 times if everyone else in California does.

Jack decided to nap for 20 min.  that’s it.  while I was attempting to rock him back to sleep for the 3rd time, Stella came into the nursery.  She mumbled something about her ‘wost’ cup and needing some ‘moik’ (milk).  I told her as nicely as I could to go wait for me in the living room.  She smiled and shouted, “ok! fanks! here ya go!” and proceeded to shut the door and lock it.  (our landlords reversed the knob in that bedroom, so the push button to lock is on the outside.  probably so their teenage girl couldn’t lock them out, or they could lock her in?!)  I was sitting there with a No-Longer-Sleeping Jack grinning at me, grunting as he tried to wiggle out of my death grip and thinking, “shit.  she just locked me in here.”

this isn’t the first time this has happened.  Matt once got locked in with both Lincoln and Stella.  it was an interesting afternoon is all he will say.  After that I started keeping a supply of q-tips by the changing table so that we had ammo to get out, easy to pick those knob locks with a q-tip.  but alas…..you put q-tips by a changing table and guess what, they get used.  so, stuck I was……part of me considered curling up in lincoln’s little toddler bed, turning on the the white noise and going to sleep.  but I knew they’d sniff me out after awhile looking for wost cups and moik.  so I pounded on the door and shouted until Lincoln came to investigate.

“why are you being so loud?  you might wake Jack up.”  really?  thanks for the tip.

We rushed up to the store since naptime was tossed out the window.  Jack appeared starving, so I gave him is favorite, greek yoghurt.  he ate the entire thing, I picked him up and he vomited all over me.  greek yoghurt chunks running all down my shirt, into my belly button.  I reeked.  nothing like greek yoghurt baby vomit to really enhance the no-shower-for-three-days look I had going.

we attempted to dye easter eggs.  what a disaster.  I hate dying eggs.  the dye freaks me out.  they spill everything.  I gave them straws (I know.  Not smart.  It was all I had.  it was that or paring knife) to ‘stir’ the eggs in the paper cups, told Lincoln 47 times to NOT DRINK THE LIQUID.  it was NOT JUICE.  I look over and he’s slurping it down.  seriously?!  after asking, “WHY?  why?!”  he goes, “I was trying to make bubbles and it went the other direction.”  sadly, that answer makes sense.  the eggs turned out ok.  the colors were a little off because I used beet juice and a combo of cake decorator food coloring.  This was really a last minute activity.  Lincoln seemed unimpressed and asked if we could try again with Daddy.  He’s only three and already knows that Daddy tends to follow directions better than Mommy.   Stella was in love.  she kept cuddling the eggs.  whispering, “oh so prwertty.  you so coot!  so coot.”  Later I watched her jam her finger into one crushing it.  she exclaimed in disappointment, “ah! whered de dinosaur?! dere no dinosaur in there!”  she seemed slightly heartbroken.  I guess, what would you expect to pop out of a pink egg?

The lack of sleep is getting to us.  Making all of us punchy.  We packed it up, I gathered up my vomit covered self, grabbed chunky Jack, my purse, the other two crazies, and we left.  Read books out loud during dinner, a communal shower, and all off to bed.  Tomorrow is Friday.  our last day at work.  my last day in the 20s.  I promised Lincoln a Starbucks breakfast.  It has been a hard week.  in the words of the great Dr. Suess, “Today was good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one.”

I wish we all lived in a world where dinosaurs hatched from pink Easter eggs.

plant whisperer.

well, after much research and watching my mom fight cancer, i decided to attempt to eat as healthy as possible.  most people would think our diet is a tad extreme, but it works for us, we feel great, and my mom’s still alive after battling one of the worst kinds of breast cancer possible.  i think, i believe, food has a lot to do with that.  as she says, you can take chemo once a week, radiation (i could never spell that and don’t care to learn how, it’s a word i hope to not type often) once a day, but you EAT three times a day.  you can self medicate three times daily.  or you can poison yourself three times a day depending on your habits.  my habits used to be poisonous.  i really really like sugar.  anyway…..

so we shop at the local farmers market, and basically ONLY at the farmer’s market.  in an attempt to save money (and the gardening spread in better homes and garden always looks so pretty) i decided to plant my own container garden.  i wanted to plant items we used the most.  spinach, red leaf lettuce (okay we don’t really use that too much, that was a better homes and garden moment) tomatoes, and strawberries. 

lincoln was very excited when i went about planting everything, very excited.  we had never played with dirt before.  and i was digging.  and there were green things.  it was all new and exciting.  it got better when i explained that we would ‘bite’ these things.  he was very happy. 

the strawberries died within a week.  the spinach and lettuce didn’t look too good.  my mom suggested moving them out of the hot afternoon sun and let only the morning light hit them.  BAM! instant improvement.  the tomatoes looked good.  lincoln would watch me as i watered them every morning.  whenever i would stop he would thoughtfully call out, “oh mowr, mowr!”  as if he were a plant whisperer and knew, knew they were still thirsty. 

the spinach was suddenly three feet tall.  BUT, it had some kind of bug and eventually it got the best of it.  the damn red leaf lettuce is still doing great, looks great too so i can’t complain.  and the tomato plant, well, that’s been interesting.  apparently you can’t put two plants in a little flower pot.  some things you learn the hard way.  so today, i attempted a tomato transplant in order to save not only the plant but the last living thing i hoped to eat from my garden.

it was a big day.  this was different than planting day.  today i was elbow deep in dirt, dumping pots over, tying plants to sticks (or bats as lincoln saw it).  lincoln was restlessly pacing around me as i worked, mumbling to himself.  he could barely contain his excitement.  he would reach in and grab some dirt.  i was busy trying to save our future salsas and sandwiches.  suddenly everything looks okay.  (key word, looks. we’ll see how it ends up)  i start watering the newly transplanted plants.  lincoln is watching me.  directing me where to dump the water.  softly saying, “oh!” when he sees me pour.  suddenly my companion is gone and i turn around and i notice a pile of dirt on the quilt stella is playing.  the same quilt matt’s grandmother bought us for christmas one year.  he had constructed a pile of dirt and had proceeded to ‘water’ it.  with his juicy cup that he would refill from his water table.  less than an inch of water at a time. 

i moved stella so she didn’t become part of lincoln’s garden and then directed his watering skills toward the wilty lettuce (the heat wave over the weekend hadn’t done them any favors).  he seemed very excited to have a task and purpose.  a goal.  not to mention that he had “permission” from his ma to continue on with his “work”. 

he kept watering them, even long after stella and i went inside to finish cooking dinner, still using the juicy cup, still going one inch at a time.

it’s raining it’s pouring.

well it seems like the two’s have hit lincoln.  my happy baby, my little sweet heart seems to have a streak of demon in him.  i have read all the books and i know what’s ‘going on’ in his little frusterated toddler head, but that doesn’t make it any less horrific for me.  since he is my first baby, and so then my first toddler, i really have no gauge on ‘normal’.  i don’t know if his antics are extreme or par for course.  that’s frusterating for me.  not knowing.  not knowing what to do, how to do it.  the dreaded wonder if i am doing it right…….

i know that lincoln is frusterated.  he spends his days talking to me and i JUST DON’T SEEM TO GET IT in his mind.  why oh why would i give him cheerios when he specifically said he wanted toast?!  why would i sit on the pink blanket when he asked me repeatedly to sit on the brown one?  the hard part is that he talks, i attempt to listen, but i can’t always hear (understand) him.  so i do the wrong thing, and that drives him crazy.  as i imagine it would.  i am sure i have complained myself many times about talking and being ignored over and over and over.  he actually must have loads of patience in order to be as controlled as he is.  i mean, can you imagine what it must be like for him?  to have a tall person speak really slowly to you, as if you were hard of hearing or something.  to talk all day long and be ignored.  you place dinner requests and they still make you pasta (for the 5th time in two weeks).  i can imagine he has his own list of complaints.

i try to talk to the ‘other moms’ about it.  hesitantly asking, “does aidan ever throw a fit?” oh sure she answers and then changes the subject.  it drives me crazy.  what does ‘oh sure’ mean?  i need details, descriptions, anlaysis, data.  something that says, yes, lincoln is normal.  he is not possessed by satan for 35 min a week, he’s two (or almost).  but instead i get a vague, non-committal answer.  maybe they don’t want to shed to much light into the dark parts of motherhood.  i do.  it really doesn’t bother me to say, “hey this part sucks and guess what, it gets worse.”  don’t get me wrong, i wouldn’t trade babies for anything in the world, but much like my outlook on the rest of life-i’m not going to lie.  i’m a realist, i say it how it is.  life isn’t perfect all the time and neither is motherhood.  sometimes it sucks.  and when a little 3 foot tall toddler is trying to manicallyhit you and scream because you sat on the wrong blanket, well, besides being slightly humerous, it  kind of sucks.  so, there it is, motherhood sucking 2.5 points (it gets a point for the month stella woke up every 20 minutes and half a point for labor.  yep, only half a point.  and that’s drug free labor) motherhood being the best thing i have ever encountered 987,456,238 and counting.

art day!

after a quick trip (and $70!) to beverly’s lincoln, stella and i were ready to have the first of many art days.  i wanted to introduce them not only to the texture and feel of paint, but of the wonderment of changing a blank canvas.  

lincoln at first seemed skeptical of my idea.  i dipped his hand into the paint and tried to show him how to place it on the canvas.  he was too disturbed by the feel of the paint on his hand to really enjoy what he was doing.  i wiped his hands off and handed him a brush and then he went at it, banging and dragging it around the canvas.  i poured some paint on another canvas and held it up to stella who promptly began hitting it with her hands and running her hands all around it.  i tried to assist her in getting a foot print on it but she would just slide right off the canvas (it quickly became a 12×12 acrylic slip n slide) and soon she was covered in paint.  i let her lay there and bang on it some more with her fists but when those little fists started to make their way into her mouth i decided to call art day to an end for her.  she ended up in the kitchen sink, hosed off and wrapped in a towel.  maybe it wasn’t the best activity for a 5 month old.  but really who’s to say? 

there are books upon books of how to raise children (i know this for a fact, i’ve read most of them) there are ‘experts’ and advice givers.  but having two kids has shown me one thing, every single kid is different.  so an expert for one kid is a novice at another.  that even holds true in the same family.  lincoln was a totally different 5 month old than stella is.  i am an expert at lincoln.  i am a study in stella. 

i think the hardest part of being a parent (besides the constant worry) is the underlying feeling that you don’t know what you are doing.  who knows, maybe it’s just me.  maybe everyone else sails through it without an ounce of self-doubt.    but i worry.  about everything.  if she sleeps in my bed will that create confidence or clingy-ness?  if i get frustrated at bedtime and leave the room to let him cry is he going to think i abandoned him?  is 5 months too young to lick up some non toxic paint? lincoln's first artstella's first art

i recently had a spa technician tell me that babies that didn’t get an infant massage every night from their parents were bound to become drug addicts.  i understood her underlying message, spend time with your kids, show them affection, and they will be okay.  ignore them and you will deal with their issues later.  i tell myself that my doubting and worry is proof that i am a good mom.  i care enough to worry about my actions. 

but at the end of the day, after patting lincoln the appropriate amount so that he falls asleep.  and after wrapping stella up and ignoring her so that she can fall asleep, without distracting herself by giggling at me, i know one thing for sure.  i may not be the best mom, i may not write how-to-books.  but i am their best mom.  even with my faults and even if i let them eat paint a little too early, i am still exactly what they need. 

they are my blank canvases, and i am theirs.  and yesterday as we sat, a trio covered in primary colors, with paint in our hair and in between our toes we discovered one thing: there is no right way to create a masterpiece.

golden boy

today is your mini golden birthday.  you are 17 months today.  i remember the day i found out i was pregnant with you i had this overwhelming feeling of peace and fullness.  like everything finally made sense.  i knew you were going to be amazing, i just didn’t know how amazing you would be.  your uncle andy laughs at me and i am sure most people smile and nod when i tell them just how advanced you are.  but you are. 

today you grabbed a coffee cup off of poppa’s desk at work and walked over to tootsie’s coffee machine, put the cup under it, and pushed the button.  and then proceeded to lean there as if you were waiting for a cup of coffee.  every morning when we get to the store you wrestle out of the stroller straps and help me push the sign out front.  then you try to push the stroller to the back, point to the lights to tell me to turn them on, and motion to stella-so that i don’t forget her.  you spend a lot of time looking out for her.  if she fusses you bring her a pacifier.  if she appears lonely you bring her a toy, or 5.  you often bring her blankets and cover her up.  if she spits up you find the wipes and wipe her chin.  you spend a lot of time hugging her.  i pray that you will always care for her like this. 

if you spill something, you run and grab a towel to clean it.  you feed the cat.  you throw away garbage you find around the house.  you attempt to floss and clean your own ears.  you put on our shoes.  you bring me my purse when you want to go outside.  you rescue your own balls from under the bed with a hanger. 

you can handle stairs better than most adults, you scoot up and down them with an armful of balls.  you can throw a football in a perfect spiral across the room.  you dribble a basketball with your mouth open and tongue hanging out.  you kick, you run, you jump, you dance, you clap, you wiggle when hungry and squirm when annoyed.  you are 17 months old and you already have conquered life.  you walk with a confidence that is to be admired.  you run and fall as if indestructible.   your spirit is stronger than any i have ever seen.  you are a force.  you blow through the house, and people’s hearts with tenacity.  no one that meets you forgets you. 

one time your dad and you were in borders and someone stopped him and said, “I know that baby.” and your daddy goes, “what?!” and they said, ” i know that baby.  i’ve met that baby.  i like that baby.”  you make an impression on people.

sometimes i think i should reign you in.  i should get you to calm down.  or sit down.  or lay down.  but i don’t.  i feel like corralling you would be a sin.  you have to explore and live and discover.  free reign as your dad calls it, “lincoln always has free reign.”  i hope the next 17 years are as explosive as the first 17 months have been.

‘my-my’

“my-my.”  that’s how you say momma.  you don’t say much, but what you do say you say over and over and over.  ball for instance.  everything is “ba-hull.”  you say it all day long, point to anything round or circular and say “ba-hull”.  ball was technically your first word.  you said it clearly and used it accurately on your 11 month birthday.  it was fitting.  you say it sometimes when you aren’t talking about a ball, i think it’s your ‘go-to’ word, when your mind wants to say something, that’s what comes out.  right now, you are sitting behind me (supposed to be napping) pointing at the lights on the ceiling and calling them balls. 

you can actually say a lot, it’s just most of it isn’t very clear.  this is what i have ‘heard’ you say:

mama, more, kitty, balloon, hi, da, go, book, baby, bottle, ball, hot. 

somedays i hear you mutter, “oh man.”  another day you stood at the door of the store and said, “eh ma? I go.”  and pointed to the door.  you actually communicate quite well without using words, most of the time you chirp or twill like a bird and beckon to what you want.  you and i have a virtually wordless conversation multiple times a day.  at first it was very frusterating for us both, until i started to listen.  i learned, sorry it took me so long, to listen to you by watching you.  by responding to your facial expressions and antics. 

you were hungry, you danced and stomped and whined the whole time i made your mac and cheese.  i placed you in your highchair and you started the long journey of the spoon from bowl to your face. i sat down with mine, you immediately whined and fussed and pointed at me.  “what?! it’s the same thing, eat your food!”  then i saw.  it wasn’t my food you wanted, it was my spoon.  why would you want my spoon?  why? because you see mine working so much better than yours.  it can’t be your skill (or lack of) you think, it must be that i have a magical spoon.  so i give you my spoon.  my heart breaks, i knew how hungry you were.  it’s still a struggle, so i feed you.  you are happy and satisfied. 

maybe that’s the connection between mother and child.  i have spent sooooo many hours staring at your face, memorizing your every facial tic.  every corner of your smile, every glint of your eyes.  you don’t need words.  i know you, i know what you want.  i know who you are.  i will always be your captivated audience.

someday you will talk clear as day.  someday you might use words i don’t even understand.  i hope, i pray, that i will always listen your face.  i pray that i will always hear you as clear as i do now.